Lighthouse, Inc. and Heaventrain, two organizations that have been dedicated to the Central, Kinsman, and Garden Valley neighborhoods, recently held an event at Lonnie Burten Recreation Center whereby players from the Cleveland City Stars soccer team mentored kids from the community. The following is an excerpt from the Cleveland City Stars e-newsletter.
Community Day at the Lonnie Burton Recreation Center was held Thursday afternoon and the event proved successful.
Over 180 children from 19 different rec centers from across Cleveland attended the event, which was hosted by the Cleveland City Stars in partnership with The City of Cleveland Recreation Department, HeavenTrain and DownTheWay.
The event consisted of soccer training from the Cleveland City Stars as well as small sided games for the kids to put their new skills to the test. At the conclusion of the games, the kids had a chance to watch Midfielder #16 Dana McGregor show off some of his soccer tricks. The day ended with an inspirational talk from CCS captain Mark Schulte about “achieving your dreams” that included a question and answer session. The soccer equipment for the clinic was kindly donated by Dick´s Sporting Goods and Charter One Bank.
“To see these kids from rival neighborhoods in Cleveland come together to play soccer is great to see,” said Andy Batten from HeavenTrain. “People sometimes assume that bad things will happen if you bring these neighborhoods together, but today is proof that good things can happen and if we put in the time we can make it happen more often.We sometimes have trouble getting people to come down here to help us out, but the City Stars came out on their own and we’re very appreciative of that.”
Every child in attendance at Thursday’s event received free tickets, courtesy of SwissTTP, to attend Saturday’s match with Real Maryland. After spending a day playing with the Stars, the children will now have a chance to come out and watch their new friends and role models in action.
“This was a life-changing event for us because we were able to bring so many kids together that normally wouldn’t have a chance to interact. We have kids from all across the city that were able to play with new people and make new friends,” said City Stars General Manager Mark Geissbauer. “With SwissTTP donating the tickets, we’re excited to have the children out for Saturday’s game so our players can put on a show for them.”